Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea occurs when the muscles in the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax too much during sleep.

This causes a blockage of the airway when trying to inhale, and is responsible for snoring. If the blockage is severe, the body has to wake itself up in order to retighten up the muscles of the soft tissues, and allow breathing to continue without a blockage. This affects the quality of sleep, and results in being extremely tired during the day. Over a long enough period of time, sleep apnoea can also lead to:

  • heart disease;
  • increase in blood pressure;
  • stroke.

A patient suspected of obstructive sleep apnoea is sent to a sleep physician to confirm the diagnosis and to assess the severity. Many patients can benefit from an oral appliance for sleep apnoea or snoring. Oral appliances work by preventing the airways from collapsing during sleep – this is usually achieved by holding the jaw forward.

Construction of an oral appliance for sleep apnoea or snoring requires two visits. The first visit involves using a special digital camera to scan a mould of the tooth into the computer. The digital mould is e-mailed to a dental laboratory where the oral appliance is constructed.

At a second visit, the constructed oral appliance is inserted into the mouth and adjusted for fit and comfort. After construction, ongoing review visits are required to monitor the effectiveness of the oral appliance.

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